Up until the early 19th century in Glasgow, the river was a shallow estuary filled with sandbanks.
After the Clyde was deepened and widened in 1812, the city and its workers began to prosper.
Going downstream from the city centre, there were 11 cross-Clyde ferry services.
Beginning with rowing boats, by 1865 steam ferries were running night and day, carrying tens of thousands of people to and from work, to the theatre, the cinema or to visit friends and family.
The crossing, although it only took minutes, could often be a hairy affair, depending on the weather, the run of the tide and which other large vessels were on the Clyde.
In summer it could be like a Costa cruise but, in winter, with rain and fog on the river, climbing down the slippery, slime-covered steps to the boat, you sometimes felt like a character from a Dickens novel.
The Finnieston Ferry, above, was one of the last to remain in operation.
It made its last sailing in 1977. At that time, its skipper, John Jamieson, 64, had captained the vessel for 30 years.
Even then, Mr Jamieson's sailing days weren't over. After spending nearly all his working days on the Clyde, he set sail again, this time to begin a new life with his grown-up children, who had emigrated to New Zealand.